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Dealers in hope - project leadership in 2017

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Benedict gave a thought provoking presentation to the YNL branch on 7 September 2017 at the Leopold Hotel in Sheffield, on what leadership, especially project leadership, is likely to look like in the future, to the YNL branch of the APM in Sheffield. This presentation was based on a number of years’ personal research into the subject.

Benedict used Napoleon’s description of leaders as Dealers in Hope as the title for the presentation. He began (Benedict not Napoleon) by posing three rhetorical questions to the audience and then proceeding to expand on them. The questions were:

  • Why is leadership hard?
  • Why is project leadership hard?
  • What can we do about it

Benedict noted that leadership is generally seen as being provided by larger than life characters with strong opinions. Their leadership is based on trust and hierarchical principles of management, with a strong command and control element. He noted that these principles had been in force over a number of years, but that now things are changing.

He suggested that the modern workforce is no longer prepared to accept the old rigid structures of management and is looking for a more inclusive form of management. The workforce is better informed and wants more involvement and input into the decision making process. Benedict noted that new methodologies are being developed such as systems thinking, prism and design thinking that meant that no longer was the project leader involved as the delegator and instructor of the team, but more of a guide and facilitator.

The audience responded to the presentation by sharing their viewpoints with Benedict and thanking him for an enjoyable evening.

David Burton


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